Film ID: YFA 1545 Video of YFA 1545 Headingley Cricket Test Match England v India 1952 HEADINGLEY CRICKET TEST MATCH ENGLAND V INDIA 1952 Visitor TabsDescription This film documents a cricket test match in 1952 between the England and India teams. The film is taken from the field level and gets quite close to the action. The film opens with a title - Headingley June 1952 Test Match ENGLAND V INDIA This title is followed by a handwritten score card before footage of the match begins. The India team players are the first to enter onto the field. They proceed through a line of fans who cheer them on as they take their positions to play. A dog is let loose and runs around the field temporarily delaying the game before the England players come on and off the field to bat. They too walk through the line of fans who cheer them on. A policeman is present holding some of them back to make sure the pathway is clear. There is a huge crowd of spectators, and all the seats in the stadium are full. There are also spectators on folding chairs lined up very close to the edge of the playing field. The India team comes off to take their turn to bat. Reporters can be seen in the press booth along with television cameras filming the event. Additionally, a BBC cameraman is situated on a balcony filming the action from another angle. The filmmaker captures more action on the playing field as well as what appear to be the managers sitting in box seats at the top of the stands. More members of the team come on and off to bat, and the handwritten scorecard reads 334 total England. India is now up to bat, and batters come on and off the field in turn. There are more shots of the stands which are completely full. At the end of India's turn batting, the total is 165. During a brief intermission, a man in a flat rolling tractor flattens the ground near the pitch before the teams take their positions on the field again. When the teams come back out onto the field, a few stills cameramen can be seen near the entrance. England is up to bat again, and the filmmaker captures more of the game. The film ends with a shot of the handwritten scorecard which reads England 3 Wickets 128. Context This film is one of many made by John (Jack) S. Eley, a keen amateur filmmaker from Leeds and member of the Leeds Cine Club. The YFA has a large collection of Jack’s films spanning nearly fifty years, from 1932 up until 1980. Jack was a highly accomplished filmmaker, making different types of films, though principally of a documentary type. He covered geographical and historical topics such as A Temple for Athena (1954), and a documentary on the restoration work on York Minster from 1965-1967. Although Jack rarely filmed sporting events, he filmed some more cricket during this year, including a Bradford v Ilkley match, and a cricket outing to Sleights, both August 1952. Although, being filmed at ground level, this film doesn’t provide a great view of the cricketing action, it is possibly the only footage of this historical match. The BBC Motion Gallery has some film of cricket from the 1950s, many from the British Movietone, but there is none for this test, and indeed no cricket action at all from Movietone for 1952. Judging by this film, Jack Eley clearly had a fascination with the BBC cameras covering the match, as well he might. The first live coverage of a test by the BBC was as early as 1938, when they showed Len Hutton get his world record 364 at the Oval against Australia. But there was very little TV coverage of cricket at this time. In 1950 there were only 350,000 combined radio and TV licences, and it wasn’t until October 1951 that a transmitter was opened to serve the north of England. A typical day of BBC broadcasting in June 1952 was three hours in the afternoon and another three hours in the evening, with a two hour break in between. The breakthrough came with the live televising of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, leading to well over three million combined sound and vision licences by 1954. Even radio coverage was still very patchy. Although all home tests were covered on the radio (usually with John Arlott commentating), Test Match Special (aired on the Third Programme), with its ball-by-ball commentary, wasn’t introduced until 1957. And it wasn’t until 1963 that Brian Johnston (later to become famously known as ‘Johnners’) became the first television cricket correspondent. It isn’t clear which, if any, commentators can be seen in this film, but perhaps Howard Marshall is the most likely. Nor is it easy for the non-expert to identify all the cricketers. The filming doesn’t start until after the Indian first innings; having won the toss they elected to bat first. The England opening batsmen are fairly easy: Reg Simpson and Pudsey born Len Hutton (later Sir Len Hutton). Although he had never captained his county of Yorkshire, in these tests Hutton became England's first professional captain, and may have led England more had it not been for this second class status (Wally Hammond was a professional cricketer who captained England, but only after he had given up his professional status). We also see Denis Compton coming off, having got just 14 runs, to be replaced by Allan Watkins, only for him to be shown going off and replaced, possibly by leg-spinner Roly Jenkins coming in at number eight. In his 2005 Cowdrey Lecture, Geoffrey Boycott states that this was the first test match he watched, as an eleven year old, yet also states that he never saw Len Hutton bat (he must have arrived late, Hutton, opening in both innings, only got 10 in each of them). The second Indian innings was the worst start to an innings in Test history. Only 41 runs behind England, India were 0 for 4 after just fourteen balls, with the 21-year-old Fred Trueman, making his England debut, taking three of the wickets, and Alec Bedser the other (‘Fiery Fred’ later took 8 in the second Test, and 8 for 31 in the first innings of the third). The first Indian batsman shown having got out is possibly Datta Gaekwad, making his Test debut. Needless to say, with three of the first four batsmen having all got ducks, the players go off with heads bowed. The incoming batsman who turns to share a joke might be Vijay Hazare, who went on to make 56 before being bowled, again by Fiery Fred. The scoreboard shows the total score for the Indian second innings of 165, leaving England just 125 runs to win. England went on to win the first three tests, and only the weather prevented them winning the last. India had recorded their first Test victory against England at Madras just before the start of this tour. But they were unused to the English pitches which were much more lively and unpredictable than those back home. Hence they found Alec Bedser, and the pace of Trueman in particular, hard to handle. It is not surprising therefore that they became rather defensive, for which they were criticised, and ended up drawing 23 of the 34 games they played. Nevertheless, the tourists did display some fine cricketing at times, including in this test with Manjrekar's knock of 133 when India were three down for 42, and with a partnership of 222 with skipper Vijay Hazare. The 1950s is generally regarded as being a golden period for the England cricket team. Yet it has also come under scrutiny as a period of decline, as the game echoed the vanishing of the British Empire and all the hypocrisy and snobbery that went with it. India had of course only recently gained independence in 1947. Tim Quelch makes the connection between the wider political changes in society and the outdated institutions and attitudes that remained in cricket. It was still an era when the game was divided between Gentlemen and Players, or amateurs and professionals: the latter being those who made their livelihood from playing the game. The division between amateurs and professionals bedevilled not just cricket but all sports, causing a great deal of conflict in both football and rugby, the latter becoming divided as a result (Higgins, References, has a good chapter on this). Charles Williams notes that this distinction was a reflection of class society, with people marked out, as well as by source of wealth or occupation, by “dress, deportment, manners and mode of speech”. Only amateurs had their initials printed before their surname, professionals had it printed afterwards. During the Second World War this elitism began to crumble, at least around the edges, as all ranks played together. In 1943 Wisden, the cricketer’s bible, argued for the ending of the amateur/professional divide. But matches between Gentlemen v Players continued after the war, not least in Scarborough. Although amateurism wasn’t officially abolished until 1962, in effect many of the so-called amateurs were being paid indirectly, in what beca me called ‘shamateurism’. Through expenses, promotions and other means, the so-called amateurs often earned much more than the professionals (this was hardly a new phenomena, it had characterised the games since Victorian times). All three of the Yorkshire players in the England team – Len Hutton, Jim Laker and Fred Trueman – were professional players from relatively lowly backgrounds, as was Yorkshire’s other test player at the time, Brian Close, although he wasn’t picked for England during the 1952 season (Jim Laker, although born and bred in Yorkshire, never played for his home county). Both Laker and Trueman railed against shamateurism. But in any case the numbers of amateurs was sharply declining: just 72 out of 370 by 1962, compared to 175 out of 450 in 1949. Even after abolition the battle continued to rage, with Yorkshiremen at the forefront: the working class Brian Close being dropped as captain in 1967 despite winning six of the seven games he was in charge of (the other was drawn), and being replaced by Colin Cowdrey, who came from a rather more privileged background – only to be replaced, when he broke an Achilles tendon in 1969, by that other working class cricketer from Pudsey, Ray Illingworth. Even now, Colin Shindler opines that “the insidious British class system has never quite deserted our game.” It was also a period when the game might be characterised as amateur in that other meaning of the word: with unprotected pitches, and players on average much less athletic then they are in the modern game. Roy Hattersley recalls an incident he saw whilst watching a match in his native Sheffield in 1949, “when a New Zealander called Brunton Smith flung himself full-length to prevent a Yorkshire boundary, the Bramall Lane crowd booed his unsporting behaviour.” Headingley had been hosting Test cricket since 1899, seeing some great moments, including Donald Bradman's famous two innings of 334 in the 1930 Ashes Test, and 304 in 1934. As can be seen in the film, there was a large and enthusiastic crowd at the match. Madhav Mantri, looking back on the match nearly sixty years later, states that “What struck me initially was that the crowd would clap for a maiden over. A good piece of fielding and a good throw was appreciated.” Doubtless the mischievous dog also got a good round of applause! References Mike Higgins, The Victorians and Sport, Hambledon, 2004. Richard Holt, Sport and the British: A Modern History, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992. Charles Williams, Gentlemen and Players: The Death of Amateurism in Cricket, Phoenix Books, 2012 India in British Isles 1952, Cricket Archives India in England, 1952, Wisden Colin Shindler, ‘The slow death of cricket's class divide’, Wisden Roy Hattersley, Len Hutton and me Further Information Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Ball by Ball: The Story of Cricket Broadcasting, Grafton, 1990. Tim Quelch, Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets: England's Troubled Reign as Test Match Kings during the Fifties, Pitch Publishing, 2012.